Population Structure of Ungulates in Waterberg National Park, Namibia

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Abstract

A study on the seasonal variation in population structure of seven (7) ungulate species, African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), eland (Tragelaphus oryx), giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), oryx (Oryx gazella), sable (Hippotragus niger), roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) and the greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) was carried out using the field census approach during the wet (February– April) and dry (July–September) season, and a water hole census (September) at seven waterholes in the Waterberg National Park, Namibia. Male warthog, oryx and black rhino on average comprised about 40 % of the population, whereas male sable, roan antelope, eland and buffalo comprised 30 % of the population. Male kudu and male white rhino comprised 20 % of the sex structure of the population, whereas male giraffe comprised more than 50 % of population. Age structure was dominated by adults, with 60 % of the total population in warthog, sable, eland and the white rhino, and 70 % in kudu, roan, buffalo, giraffe and black rhino on average. Oryx had the highest number of adults, with only 10 % of the population comprised of juveniles. Larger herds were observed during the wet season and smaller herds during the dry season. Animals were observed more abundantly in three of the vegetation types (Terminalia sericea — Melhania acuminata vegetation, Terminalia sericea — Thesium megalocarpum, Terminalia sericea — Blepharis integrifolia), with lower abundances in the rock-inhabiting Peltophorum africanum during both seasons.

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